Low Standby Product List Frequently Asked Questions

Updated July 2013

The following frequently asked questions (FAQs) are intended to help Federal agencies understand low standby power requirements and resources when making product purchases. These FAQs are sorted by:

For additional information or assistance, contact fempstandbypower@ee.doe.gov.

Product List Questions

The following questions cover the FEMP Low Standby Product List as a whole.

What is standby power?

Some appliances or devices consume electricity when they appear to be turned off. This power consumption is known as standby power and occurs for a variety of reasons. In some cases, standby power allows the device to receive signals from a remote control, network, or soft keypad. In others, standby power is consumed because the power supply (the little black cube on some power cords) or some internal circuit remains connected when the device is turned off.

FEMP defines standby power as the power consumed by a product when in the lowest power consuming mode. This typically occurs when the product is switched to "off" or not performing its primary purpose. Some organizations use standby power to refer to all low-power modes. FEMP does not consider standby power a mode, but rather an amount of power consumption that occurs when a device is in the lowest power consuming mode.

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Why should I care about this?

  • Federal agencies must buy products with low standby power. Federal agencies have been directed by the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 and Executive Order 13221 to buy products that consume only 1 watt of standby power or, where such a product is not available, the lowest available standby power consumption.

  • Low standby power products can save energy and money and prevent pollution. Agencies that buy products with low standby power can save on energy costs and help prevent pollution from power plants. Also, as the world's largest consumer, the Federal Government can help "pull" the market toward greater energy efficiency while saving taxpayer dollars.

  • Standby power uses a significant amount of electricity. Standby power is a big issue. It accounts for 5% to 10% of residential energy use, and a smaller but significant portion of commercial energy use, in most developed countries. By buying and using products with low standby power, the Federal Government will be helping to reduce this load on our power system.

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What data is in the FEMP Low Standby Product List?

The FEMP Low Standby Product List contains searchable lists of products in three product categories–desktop, thin client, and workstation computers. For these product categories, FEMP obtains product and standby power data directly from ENERGY STAR® on a monthly basis and publishes it in the Low Standby Product List.

As noted above, Federal purchasers are required by Executive Order 13221 and EISA 2007 to buy products with low standby power consumption. Note that not all products listed in the Low Standby Product List meet the FEMP-defined standby power consumption limit; compliance information for each product can be found in the product list. FEMP provides information on non-compliant products to provide purchasers with more information on a wide variety of products. This can be useful, for instance, if a Federal purchaser requires a product with a special feature that is not found among the FEMP-qualified products. In this case, the purchaser can use the product list to choose the model with the lowest standby power consumption that meets their needs.

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Buyer Questions

The following questions cover common concerns for buyers.

What if the product I want to buy is not listed?

If the specific product you want is not listed, contact your supplier or the manufacturer of the product and ask if they participate in the FEMP standby power program. If not, inform them that you cannot purchase their product unless they register it with FEMP through the Low Standby Product List and encourage them to do so.

If the specific product you want to buy is listed but does not meet the FEMP required level, consider whether a product that does meet the level will meet your needs. If not, then you must document a justification for the exemption within your agency.

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What if the product list does not show the kind of product I want to buy?

If the product list does not contain the product category you are looking for, this means FEMP has not identified the product category as a significant consumer of standby power in the Federal sector. However, consumers should try to minimize standby power where they can (e.g. by explicitly asking for products with low standby power in solicitations or asking for data about standby power and using that data as a decision criterion in a procurement award).

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How can I specify a compliant product in a solicitation or other procurement contract?

In a solicitation, make sure the appropriate FEMP standby power level is included in the key product criteria. FEMP provides model procurement language for various product categories.

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Manufacturer Questions

The following questions cover common concerns for manufacturers.

What is "Declared Standby Power"?

"Declared Standby Power" is the standby power consumption for a product declared by the manufacturer or other party submitting it to the Low Standby Product List. It is defined to be the lowest power consumption while plugged into the main power supply. This definition comes from the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standby power test procedure (IEC 62301 v1.0-2005). Those submitting data to the Low Standby Product List should measure product standby power consumption using the IEC 62301 test procedure.

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How can I get my product information included on the website? And do I need to submit my company's product information here if I already submitted it to ENERGY STAR?

As long as your product is ENERGY STAR compliant and meets the 1-watt low standby power requirement, it is listed in our product list, or otherwise indicated as compliant with FEMP's low standby power requirement, as shown in this compliance summary table. Contact the Low Standby Product List administrator at fempstandbypower@ee.doe.gov with any questions or concerns.

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What is a "hard-off switch" and what does it mean for my products?

A hard-off switch is integrated into a device that completely disconnects that device from the electrical mains. If a product has a hard-off switch it should be listed as having 0 watts of standby power consumption. This is because standby power consumption is defined as being the power consumed in the lowest power consuming mode, which in this case occurs when the switch is turned off and there is no power consumption.

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